Author Topic: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:  (Read 33836 times)

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #165 on: June 06, 2013, 11:11:39 AM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

43.  'When thoughts cross the mind and effort is made to eliminate them, the effort is termed meditation.  Meditation
is only negative in as much as thoughts are kept away.'

                                                                      - Talk No. 294.

Notes:  Warding off thoughts is one of the negative functions of meditation.  Text 35 speaks of control  and contemplation
as if they were separate processes.  They are no more separate from each other than chewing from eating.  Control,
concentration, contemplation, meditation are parts of the one and the same process, which goes by the general name
dhyana, which in the last analysis proves to be a negative process.  The positive side of the practice is its aim, which
is Atma Nishta, fixation in the Self.  The latter cannot be achieved without the former, which clears the decks for it.  Unless
thoughts and feelings are swept away, the stable consciousness from which they rise and which underlies them cannot be
perceived.  In fact, even in the investigation there is nothing positive because it is only a process of elimination, not of
acquisition.  The ego and all the upadhis have to be liquidated for the reality to show itself from underneath them.  As the
ever shining Sun cannot be seen when it is covered by thick clouds., so is the pure consciousness hidden from perception
by these accretions and superimposition. 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #166 on: June 07, 2013, 12:40:09 PM »

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

44. 'Meditatioin is sticking to one thought. That single thought keeps away other thoughts.  Distraction of the mind is a
sign of its weakness.  By constant meditation it gains strength, i.e. weakness of fugitive thoughts gives place to the
background free from thoughts.  This expanse devoid of thoughts is the Self. Mind in purity is the Self.'

                                          - Talk No. 293.

NOTES:  The previous text defines meditation as the effort to eliminate thoughts, and this one as sticking to one thought.
Both definitions on examination prove to be the same. To stop all thoughts one thought should be chosen to tie the mind
with.  This will automatically exclude all other thoughts.  For there is no such thing as mind absolutely free from thoughts
in Jagrat.  The aim is to restrain the distractions which weaken it.  Practice reduces the distractions -- the mental waves
-- and thus strengthens the mind, till absolute mental stability is gained, which is not other than the Self, for stable -
waveless -- mind is the Pure Consciousness.  This is simple to understand, Sri Bhaavan often tells us, and easy to practice.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #167 on: June 08, 2013, 11:19:19 AM »
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi:

45.  "Trance is the natural state.  Although there are activities and phenomena, yet they do not affect the trance.  If these
are realized to be not apart from the Self, the Self is realized.  It is to be realized with the mind.  The Pure Mind, that is,
the mind free from thoughts is the Self. The Pure Mind is beyond the impure mind.'

                                                - Talk 317.

Notes:  The word Bhagavan uses is Samadhi and not trance, which is the traditional translation of Samadhi, and which the
recorder of the Journal has adopted.  The translation is, of course, not only inept but defective.  If we retain the word Samadhi
even in English, there will be less trouble for the reader to follow the idea.

In this text, Sri Bhagavan removes much of misapprehensions which hover round the term Samadhi and restores it to its
natural significance as being the natural state of all things.  Trance, far from conveying this idea, wraps it up in dark clouds
and darker associations.  It can now be observed how faulty translations of key words are dangerous.

In Sahaja Samadhi, the permanent state of the Jnani, as of Sri Bhagavan Himself, the world does not disappear, as it does
in Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi, but it is all there -- with its shape and colors, smells, tastes, and sounds; with its solids and liquids,
summers, springs and autumns; with its cinemas and music halls -- all fun and frolics, all its tragedies and comedies -- wholly
and vividly the same.  But these no longer stand as isolated or connected islands in an external boundless space;  no longer
as God's creation;  no longer as the rainbow beauties that had once enthralled his young imagination and dominated his youthful
heart.  They are now mere thoughts and sensations, mere wisps of his jagrat dreams, in which he, the dreamer, alone is real.
They longer cloud the perception of his own reality.  In another sense they are also real, because he, the perceiver, is real. 
They are 'the stuff of which dreams are made' and dreams rise only from the dreamer, who is their soul and substance; as the
substance is real, so they must be.

Here again, Sri Bhagavan identifies the pure mind with the Self.  Mind is therefore not manas -- another wrong translation by
the old scholars which has become traditional, sacrosanct in their eyes and which we repudiate.  Mind is mind. When it is covered
by thoughts it is called manas or impure mind.  When thoughts are arrested it is the pure mind or Self.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #168 on: June 09, 2013, 12:21:27 PM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

46.  "The Bible says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God.
The whole Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements:  'I AM THAT I AM' and 'BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD'."

                                   -Talk No. 338.

Notes: The questioner is an American lady who thinks that the affirmation of ' I am the Supreme Being' should be more
helpful than the quest 'Who am I?' The former, in her opinion, is positive, whereas the latter a negative or neutral approach.
It is obvious that she has completely missed the point of quest.  The quest is an investigation, not self hypnosis, nor Coue'ism,
which flourishes on 'positive auto suggestions.  Sri Bhagavan had answered that she should first find out who is the one
who affirms before she starts affirming, which wold compel her to inquire into the nature of the empirical 'I', the 'I' which she
thinks herself to be, and which has, at first sight, nothing of the "Supreme" in it.             

In any case to arrive at the Being of her suggestions the mind must be still, hence Sri Bhagavan twice quotes the Old
Testament to explain the meaning to her.  The first namely, I AM THAT I AM, conveys the nature of the Reality, as the Being,
or as she calls it the Supreme Being.  And the second, namely, Be still and know that I am God', the method of attaining It.
These two dicta, Sri Bhagavan opines, express the heart and essence of the Vedanta -- its Goal and Path at once.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #169 on: June 10, 2013, 01:46:13 PM »

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

47.  'While not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood, there is a deep quietness in the mind.  Is one at such times, ready
to dive into the Self?  Or is this condition, unhealthy, a sort of self hypnotism?'

Bhagavan:  'There is Consciousness along with the quietness in the mind.  This is exactly the state to be aimed at.  The fact
that there is a doubt on this point, shows that the state is not steady but casual.  When deep quietness prevails without
obstructing the consciousness, where is the need to dive?'

                                                                -  Talks No. 348. 

NOTES:   The experience of the questioner is interesting, in as much as, it is precursory to the great experience of the Self.
He is then just below the mental waves, and is feeling his way to the substratum.  He asks if he should then, 'dive' and
Sri Bhagavan answers that there is no need to do so, for the consciousness which is aware of the quiet is the Reality itself,
which means that the questioner has only to be aware of that consciousness. 

We have often observed that consciousness prevails at all times, for though it we are conscious of things.  To catch Consciousness
by itself, all we have to do is to drop the things, evidenced by the feeling of inner peace, which the thoughts, or things of the mind,
would not have otherwise permitted.  All he has now to do is to try to be aware of the consciousness that feels, or notices, the quiet,
which is already present and does not need to be dived for to be cognized.  A little shrewdness, so to say, a little more alertness
at that supreme moment will be sure to do the trick. 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #170 on: June 11, 2013, 01:56:16 PM »

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

48.  'Just as by churning the curd, butter is extracted, and by friction, fire is kindled, even so by unswerving vigilant
constancy in the Self, ceaseless like the unbroken filamentary flow of oil, is generated the natural or changeless
nirvikalpa samadhi, which spontaneously yields that direct perception of Brahman, which is at once Knowledge and
Experience and which transcends time and space.  This is Self Realization, cutting asunder the hridaya granthi, or
the knot of the Heart which is constituted of delusions, of ignorance,, of the vicious and age-long tendencies of the
mind.  All doubts are then dispelled and the bondage of karma is severed.'

                                                                                                        -  Talk No. 349.

NOTES;  The churning of the curd and friction refer to the ceaseless churning of the inquiry.  The 'unswerving vigilant
constancy in the Self' is the holding on to the dhyanic current which resembles the unbroken flow of oil --- vigilant because
it is sufficiently alert to ward off digressions as well as sleep.  The last inclination is as troublesome as the inclination to
reminisce.  Success in this leads to nirvikalpa, where in the knot of ignorance, which is lodged in the Heart, of the jiva
snaps, opening wide the door of Self Realization, which is usually barred by this hridaya granthi.

Let it not be supposed that in samadhi thoughts stop like a snuffed out candle. For that is not at all possible.  Highly
tenuous thoughts  continue to hover all the time, and the alertness continues to be exercised against them at the same
time.  Yet peace supreme reigns, and the Self is clearly experienced.  The presence of thoughts in their subtlest form is due
to the presence of the senses in their quiescent state.  The senses - strictly speaking, the antahkarana (all the processes
of thoughts) -- merges in the Self only in sleep and in Videha Mukti.  They do not merge in Samadhi, or otherwise samadhi
would be nothing but sleep, where from nothing could be brought back to the waking state, and the Self would remain ever
unknown.  It is only because the antahkarana is present in samadhi, though quiescent -- or because quiescent -- that the
Self is cognized  and we have all the Srutis, Smritis, and everything that is known about the Self.  To this presence the Rishis
owe their Jnana and Liberation. In sushupti there is no cognition of the Self because the faculty of cognition is not present                         
but has merged in the Self, like all other faculties.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #171 on: June 12, 2013, 09:39:47 AM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

49.  'The Sastras say that we must serve the Guru for twelve years for getting Self Realization.  What can the Guru do?
Can  he hand it over to the disciple?  Is not the Self always realized?  Confusing the body with the Self is due to ignorance.
If ignorance is wiped out the confusion will end and true Knowledge unfolded.  By remaining in contact with realized sages,
one gradually loses his ignorance till it disappears totally.  The eternal Self is thus revealed.

'Without understanding it aright, people think that the Guru teaches something like  TAT TVAM ASI and immediately the disciple
realizes 'I am Brahman'.  In their ignorance, they conceive Brahman to be something much bigger and far more powerful than
anything else.  With a limited 'I'  man is so stuck up and wild.  What will he be if the same is 'I'  increased  enormously?  He will
certainly be proportionately more ignorant and more foolish.  This false 'I' must perish.  Its annihilation is the fruit of service
to Guru.  Realization is eternal and is not granted by the Guru.  The Guru helps only the removal of ignorance --- that is all.'

                                                                        - Talks  No. 350.

NOTES: Sri Bhagavan is certainly frank in His attitude towards orthodoxy and the way people interpret the Sastras.  In ancient
days, as we read in the Mahabharata and elsewhere, lack of accuracy  was winked at and calculation of periods very lose.
The year particularly was not the same as our year, nor were the numerals of the same values, as their present namesakes,
so that when we read of a certain Rishi having remained in meditation or Samadhi for a thousands or a million years we will
be highly foolish if we take the figures or the years in their dictionary meanings.  Moreover, hyper-boles were the  very salt of
their poetic effusions. When they tell us, for example, that it is easier for a person to bring down the sun for one's child to play
with than to get at Paramatman, the Supreme Self, we should know how to take it.  Thousands upon thousands of seekers have
so far passed through the portals of Mukti, but not one has succeeded to bring down the sun to play ball with.  We are not to
take literally all that we read in Sastras: gold and dross are mixed together in them, either by accident or design to make the
strong minded pick up the valuable gold, leaving the dross to the weak ones who need them.

contd.,

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #172 on: June 13, 2013, 12:59:16 PM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

49.  continues....

Now the twelve year service to the Guru as the price of Mukti is patently absurd.  For not all servers are the same degree
of purity, nor of the same preparations, nor of the same surrender attitude, nor of the same spiritual culture.  How can all
succeed in passing the winning post, at one and the same time, at the tick of the twelfth year?  Secondly is Mukti a thing
which is in the hands of the Guru to grant or withhold?  The Self being ourselves, is it the gift of the external Guru that we
are now in existence, that we are what we are and where we are?  If not, how are we entitled to presume that the Guru
is the dispenser of the reality to his disciples?  All he can do is to help them perceiving it.  We are that Reality, but, owing to
the upadhic which are superimposed on us, we are unable to perceive ourselves as in truth we are.  The Guru gives us a helping
hand, which is all he can do. 

If the twelve year service means anything, it is to convey the idea of constancy of residence with the Guru. 

Again, the conception of a tremendous Brahman variously described by pseudo Self realized teachers precludes even veteran
Sadhakas from recognizing the Brahman in themselves or in those who have actually realized it; more so those who take
literally what they read in various scriptures about a personal Creator, who is full of actions and qualities and has infinite           
powers.  If the idea that one day they will be that Almighty God is allowed to go to their puny heads, they will have any
amount of trouble for their sins, and Sri Bhagavan's delightful tirade will be a good and timely warning, 'With a limited 'I'
He cautions, 'man is so stuck up and wild.  What will he be if the same 'I' increases enormously?  The false 'I' must perish.'

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #173 on: June 14, 2013, 12:24:55 PM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

50. 'How to meditate?  Concentrate on that God or mantra which you like best.  If  a single thought prevails, all the other
thoughts are put off and finally eradicated.  Dhyana is a fight. As soon as you begin meditation other thoughts will join
together and ry to sink the single thought to which you try to hold.  The good thought will gradually gain strength through
practice, and will put other the thoughts to flight. This is the battle royal constantly taking place in meditation. 

'One wants to rid oneself of misery for which he requires peace of mind.  Peace of mind, which means the clearing of the
mind from all thoughts, is brought about by dhyana.'

NOTES:  We meditate with the ultimate object of acquiring peace. For the mind has the tendency of forming votaries of thoughts
about one object or another, one problem or another, round which it circles ceaselessly.  We thus live in whirlpools of constant
worries, at one time present, at another time subdued, from which we find no escape except in meditation or mind control.

The single thought which Sri Bhagavan recommends us to take for meditation acts both as calming influence and as an anchor
to tie up the mind, to, to the exclusion of all other thoughts, including those which cause worries.  This thought may be chosen
ad libitum, from among the Gods, the mantras, the teachers, or from some lofty ideals, or even virtues, for which the meditator
has a special partiality.

At first the meditator will be astounded to find new thoughts swarming up in his mind, as soon as the latter has succeeded to
a degree of ridding itself from the surface waves which had been disturbing it.  These are memories of the experiences through
which he had passed in life;  they specifically choose moments of attenuated mind to escape from the confinement of the
subconscious, into which they have been stored up from a early stage, and come into prominence to divert the meditator's
attention to them.  Extreme alertness on the latter's part has thus to e exercised at every step in the meditation to oppose their
intrusion.  This 'battle royal' is finally won through perseverance in the practice. 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #174 on: June 15, 2013, 11:15:23 AM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

51.  'When dhyana is well established it cannot be given up.  It will go on automatically even when you are engaged in work,
play or enjoyment.  It will persist in sleep too. Dhyana must become so deep rooted that it will be natural to one.'

                                                      -  Talk No. 371.

Notes:  When dhyana has taken a firm grip on the mind, it establishes a dhyanic current, which is ceaselessly directed
towards the Heart, like the magnetic needle which perennially points to the magnetic Pole, irrespective of one's
preoccupations with other matters.

By its 'persisting in sleep' it is not meant that meditation is then practiced deliberately and in one's full awareness, but that
flow of the dhyanic current persists as impressions in the same way as the impressions of jagrat exprience are carried over
to the dream state, whether one is aware of it, or not. It has been the experience of some sadhakas that after the first
experience of the Self in samadhi, and before they have attained firmness in it, they mechanically attempt to capture, and
sometimes do capture, the samadhi state in the dream also.  But once a substantial degree of firmness is achieved in
jagrat, such dreams no longer recur, except extremely seldom; for one has by then established oneself almost permanently
in the reality which prevails in the waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #175 on: June 16, 2013, 01:08:38 PM »

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

52.  'The difference between the external and the internal nirvikalpa is this.  The former is holding to the Reality  while
witnessing the world, without reacting to it from within.  There is the stillness of a waveless ocean.  The internal
nirvikalpa involves loss of body consciousness.'

NOTES:  In Samadhi the Self is witness in all its purity, and there is profound peace.  As we have already studied in Note
48, the world as most tenuous thoughts, like gossamer cloud that hangs about the orb of the sun at midday, continue to
hang about, but without dimming the perception of the Self.

'The stillness of a waveless ocean' is at once graphic and picturesque.  This is still vastness is the empirical space with which
we are familiar with, but what is actually the ether of the Heart, into which all things live,  move and have their being.

The internal nirvikalpa, the Kevala, wipses out all the thoughts, including that of the body.  This does not mean loss of
consciousness, as in sleep, for that will no longer be Samadhi, but  sushupti.  Samadhi must be in jagrat -- let us hold the
idea tight, and never forget it.  The various accounts we read in books about nirvikalpa, particularly by modern writers, are in
main based on imagination.  Some followers of Kundalini Yoga allow themselves to be carried away by the Kevala kumbhaka
and get trapped into laya, a state resembling deep sleep, which they mistake for nirvikalpa, although they remain unaware of
the Self, the basic requisite of Samadhi. 

Therefore by loss of body consciousness Sri Bhagavan does not mean swoon or laya, but loss of body idea or body thought,
which vaguely prevails in the external nirvikalpa.  Total loss of body and world consciousness, as in sleep, never takes place
in any Samadhi, at all events not in that of the dhyana yoga, for then the Self would no longer be cognized, which is a necessary
condition in the true samadhi.  Samadhi, I wish again to emphasize, is dwelling in the Self in the waking state, that is, when
the senses are all out but  quiescent -- rather rendered quiescent by meditation, -- and never when the senses are merged in
the Self and the world is totally extinguished, as it happens in deep sleep.  We must also not forget that it is the Jagrat mind
that seeks and makes efforts to attain the Reality, and that it is, therefore, in Jagrat that it has to be satisfied.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #176 on: June 17, 2013, 09:39:04 AM »


Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

53. 'You say that the mind is like a cork and does not sink.  What does it matter if the mind is active?  It is only on the
substratum of the Self, Hold to the Self even during mental activities.'

                                                                -  Talks No.  406.

NOTES:  This requires some explanation, for it is likely to mislead new aspirants.  We have been repeatedly told that the
substratum cannot be witnessed so long as it is covered by mental activities, and in this text, Sri Bhagavan says just
the reverse, namely, that it would not matter if the activities were present.  The text here speaks to the person who has
experienced the Self but has not yet made it Sahaja.  For such a one mental activities no longer obstruct the Self, for he
has already experienced them as superimposition on it, so that he has only to hold to the Self always at the same time
as witnessing the activities much like remembering the canvas while enjoying the sight of the pictures painted on it.  When
this practice is perfected, it is then called Sahaja Samadhi, and the Sadhaka, a full fledged Jnani or jivanmukta.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #177 on: June 18, 2013, 09:24:12 AM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

54.  'Vrititi Jnana alone can destroy ajnana.  Absolute jnana is not inimical to ajnana.'

                                                                                       - Talk No. 629.

NOTES:  Merely being in the Self in kevala nirvikalpa does not dispel ignorance, although it brings Liberation from birth and
death if turned into Sahaja.  It is investigation into the nature of the Self and the world, and relating the one to another in
what is called argumentative meditation or Vichara, that results in the knowledge which destroys ignorance.  Absolute Jnana
or complete merging of the Jiva into the Absolute Consciousness in Turiyatita is devoid of all mental modifications (vritti)
to learn anything during meditation to destroy ignorance;  even the awareness 'I am this' is absent at the moment.  Sri
Bhagavan calls this Swarupa Jnana (Knowledge of one's very Self - in its purest state) and can also be gained through Virtti
Jnana. 

It must not be assumed that all yogis attain Jnana through Vichara, as Sri Bhagavan did, yet they are not precluded from
being Jivanmuktas of the highest order.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #178 on: June 19, 2013, 01:34:18 PM »
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:


55.  'Deep sleep is nothing but the experience of pure Being.'

                                         - Talk No. 617.

NOTES;  The word 'experience' here may give the impression that the sleeper is aware of his being in dreamless sleep.
In fact, he is not, since all the faculties of cognition are then withdrawn into him.  In both dreamless sleep and videhamukti
no cognition is possible, which is the reason that the Bhagavata gives for taking a body by the Self and becoming a Jiva,
so that with the manifestation of the anatahkaranam (inner organ) -- manas, buddhi, ahamkara and chitta -- through the body
the jiva may perceive himself as he is by nature, as the pure Chit end enjoy the bliss of this realization.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #179 on: June 20, 2013, 09:18:31 AM »

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

56. "There are five states for the individua.  They are Jagrat, Svapna, Sushupti, Turiya, and Turiyatita.....If in Jagrat the Heart is
not relinquished, the mental activities are still and Brahman alone is contemplated, the state is called Turiyatia.  Again when
the individual merges in the supreme state is called Turiyatita. ...  The clear sighted yogi abides only in Turiya and the highest
yogi remains in Turiyatita alone."

                                                                            -  617


Notes:  Although many Upanishads do not speak of Turiyatita (beyond the Fourth), as, for example, the Mandukya, which
deals only with the four states, experience and a number of minor Upanishads prove its existence as a state deeper than
Turiya (the Fourth).  Yet, Turiya alone is sufficient to secure Sahaja and Liberation, which is all that the Yogi aims at achieving.
Long abidance in Turiya culminates in the experience of Turiyatita, which is the total merging of the individual in the Supreme
Being (Brahman).   Here the Jivanmukta is actually a Videhamukta, that is, while in life he dwells in, and is aware of, the very
state in which he will be after shedding the body.  This is the highest that is possible for any Jiva to attain.

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